Though she studied business at UNC, Raleigh designer Beth Morgan always had a love for fashion.
After having children, though, Morgan revisited her love of style by designing and sewing clothing for her children.
At the encouragement of her friends and family, Morgan turned her clothes-making hobby into a business, Casey Gray Designs. And with more than a decade in business under her belt – going from a custom trunk show business to a wholesale model – Morgan has expanded into adult clothing with a new line of women’s cocktail and formal dresses under the Casey Gray name.
“Pretty quickly after the (children’s) line debuted I started getting requests from my stores to add ladies’ sizes to some of my children’s pieces,” she says. “So many of my children’s pieces were scaled-down versions of adult clothes anyway, so I suppose it shouldn’t have surprised me, but it did.”
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Morgan’s dresses have a classic, preppy look inspired by midcentury style with a modern twist in vibrant colors and prints.
“I am very drawn to fashion details from the past, particularly the ’50s and ’60s, and I love figuring out ways to incorporate these details into more modern designs,” she says. “For example, I am crazy about the super-sculptured, fitted bodices seen on dresses from the ’50s, and you’ll see this influence in the two dresses we did for spring. I have a fashion textbook from the ’50s that I refer to all the time.”
Currently, the dresses are available online at caseygraydesigns.com, and they will be available at several boutiques throughout the Southeast starting in March. Morgan is rolling out the line slowly with just a few designs, but plans to expand as more stores pick it up.
“The response to the ladies’ line has been more than we ever dreamed, so we are thrilled to be adding so many new stores this year.”
• Fine Feathers boutique will have wedding and special occasion looks from Catherine Regehr during a trunk show Thursday-Saturday. Fine Feathers boutique is at 201 Estes Drive, Chapel Hill, 919-942-3151.
• Designer Wes Gordon brings his latest collections to Vermillion in Raleigh’s North Hills for a trunk show, Feb. 25-26. Attendees can meet the designer and see pieces from his resort, spring and fall lines. To make an appointment, call 919-787-9780.
Brides-to-be can check out wedding jewelry, gifts and more during a bridal event at Charlotte’s in Cameron Village on Thursday from 6 to 8 p.m. Local wedding vendors will be on hand to meet with brides, and there will be swag bags for attendees. To learn more, call 919-821-9828.
Dress for Success Triangle NC will host an inventory excess sale from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Northgate Mall in Durham. Shoppers can score deals on new and gently used designer suits, coats, pants, handbags, shoes and more. Admission is free, but with a $20 donation, attendees can get early-bird access at 9 a.m. All proceeds from the sale benefit Dress for Success’ efforts to help women in need. For more information, call 919-286-2128.
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